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Here are some joyous masterpieces that you may want to hear:
George Frederic Handel’s Messiah: Although it is strongly associated with Christmas, Messiah was written for Lent and Easter. When this oratorio was first performed in London in 1742, it received a very modest reception; however it has now become one of the most performed choral works in Western classical music. Although the Hallelujah chorus is the most widely known, try listening to some equally beautiful pieces such as If God be for us or Oh death, where is thy sting.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture: Rimsky-Korsakov was a master of writing pieces for large orchestras and is best known for his Scheherazade Symphony. The Overture was written between 1887 and 1888 and is based on ancient Russian orthodox chants called the Obikhod. Don’t be fooled by the gentle, serene start because the Overture develops into a bold and fast-paced piece.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Easter Oratorio: Titled Kommt, eilet und laufet (Come, hasten and run), Easter Oratorio was first performed on Easter Sunday in 1725. It is written for four voice parts with the choir coming in for the last chorus. Although all the movements are beautiful, the Kommt, eilet und laufet aria duetto is especially worth a listen.
Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony: Symphony No 2, popularly known as the Resurrection Symphony, was first performed in 1895 and was one of Mahler’s most successful compositions. Written for a full orchestra, a choir and two soloists, it is an incredibly beautiful piece of music and the perfect high note on which to end Easter Day.
– Marylou Andrew
First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 8, 2012.